Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Wednesday said the neighbouring countries of Afghanistan had a direct stake in its stability and emphasized on a collective voice reinforcing a message of a peaceful prosperous Afghanistan, at peace with itself and with its neighbours. “To advance our common vision of a peaceful, stable, prosperous and inter-connected region, Afghanistan must be enabled to get through this testing time and realize its full potential,” the foreign minister said in his virtual address at the ‘Ministerial Meeting of the Neighbours of Afghanistan’. The conference, hosted by Pakistan, was joined by the foreign ministers of China, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Iran. Qureshi stressed that Afghanistan’s access to its financial resources was pivotal in preventing a collapse and reviving the economic activity. He said the evolving situation in Afghanistan would have profound implications for Afghanistan, the region, and the world at large. He said despite the averting of much dreaded bloodshed, civil and the much-feared exodus of refugees, the situation remained complex and fluid. On Taliban’s formation of a caretaker setup, he hoped that the political situation would stabilize at the earliest, leading to normalcy. “The new situation requires discarding old lenses, developing new insights, and proceeding with a realistic and pragmatic approach,” he said. Qureshi stressed that the center of endeavors must remain the well-being of the Afghan people, who had suffered enormously due to conflict and instability for over 40 years. He recalled his discussions with China’s State Councilor Wang Yi where the two sides agreed to have closer communication and coordination in view of the developments taking place in Afghanistan. He also mentioned his visits to Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Iran, where in-depth and insightful discussions were held on the situation in Afghanistan. We agreed on charting a way forward that would help address the common challenges and realize the opportunities that may arise out of the latest developments, he added. The foreign minister said the coordinated approach of the neighbouring countries was required in areas including security situation along the borders, prevention of Afghan soil from being used by terrorist entities, possibility of fresh influx of refugees and containing drug trafficking and transnational crimes. He pointed out that stemming any spread of extremist elements in Afghanistan, challenges relating to COVID-19 pandemic and impediments to regional connectivity were significant. Qureshi said the neighbouring states must affirm full support and solidarity with the Afghan people and the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Afghanistan. Underscoring the multi-ethnic nature of Afghan society, he stressed the importance of national reconciliation. In the wake of recent developments, he said the key priorities were to prevent a humanitarian crisis that could exacerbate the sufferings of the Afghans. “If a humanitarian crisis is prevented and economic stability is assured, then peace can be consolidated and a mass exodus precluded,” he said. He proposed to transform the important platform of neighbouring countries into a regular consultative mechanism and suggested the idea to invite Afghanistan in future. “Participation of Afghanistan will augment this forum’s effectiveness in pursuing our shared objectives for lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan,” he said.